Every so often one comes across a novel that has such a wide variety of allusions, imagery, themes, and symbols that it can be incorporated in practically every essay. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is such an example. One benefits academically for having read this novel. (It's also a great novel to use for the SAT essay portion). Thus, I recommend this novel to all high school students.
In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago, an aged Cuban fisherman, goes head-to-head with an enormous marlin. Santiago's adventure at sea is both a physical and moral challenge. Physically, Santiago is in no condition to try to catch a marlin. He is hungry, dehydrated, and alone in the ocean with predators near by. Morally, Santiago has become attached to the marlin. He calls it his "brother." However, Santiago realizes that if he does catch the marlin, he will return to his village a wealthy and respected man. This novel led to Hemingway's receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1954.
There are many allusions to Jesus, so keep an eye out for those. Moreover, the themes range from those about nature and age to time and perseverance. There is so much in this 96 paged novel!
Hope y'all check it out!